Archive for the ‘Eateries’ Category

Your Chicago: Route 66 Starting Point, CBS 2 Chicago

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

…this segment with news anchor Kate Sullivan appeared on the CBS 2 Chicago 10 p.m. newscast on September 30th, 2011. It can be seen, along with its accompanying text, at the Web page.

If this video makes you hungry for more, please contact me for a tour, a presentation to your library/museum/social group, or to buy a book or postcard! or call me at 312-432-1284! Get your kicks with me on Route 66!

Oct 6 Stroll 66 on the 6th Chicago Walking Tour

Friday, September 9th, 2011

October 6 2011 tour begins at Dearborn Station in Chicago

October 6 2011 tour begins at Dearborn Station in Chicago

…will begin at Dearborn Station and end with a bar crawl from the Berghoff to Miller’s Pub! It will begin at 6:06 p.m. (exactly 66 minutes after 5!) Along the way we will walk a street that was a notorious red light district at the turn of the 20th century (as far as I know, all the brothels are long gone). We will discuss many of the early skyscrapers of Chicago along Dearborn from Congress to Jackson, including the magnificent Monadnock Building.

When we reach the Federal Center, we will discuss its architecture and controversies about its construction and the structures demolished to build it. We will discuss the famous trial that happened in the old court building on this site in which Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion.

After visiting the breathtaking lobby of the Marquette Building featuring a dazzling Tiffany mosaic, we will next discuss the history of the Berghoff restaurant and its historic buildings dating from 1872–and how a little political intrigue in the early 1960s nearly led to their destruction.

Then, it will be time for libations! We will visit the Berghoff Bar at 17 West, where tour patrons can enjoy the ambiance and if they wish purchase a Berghoff Beer (or a Berghoff Root Beer).

Neon sign at Millers Pub, Wabash north of Adams (Route 66), Chicago

Neon sign at Millers Pub, Wabash north of Adams (Route 66), Chicago

We will end the tour discussing the history of Miller’s Pub, its move from the original location on Adams around the corner to Wabash, and then patrons can enjoy a beverage if they wish at the bar!

All participants in the tour will pay a discounted price equal to 66% of the regular $18.00 per person cost—that is only $12.00 per guest for a 2-hour adventure.

Reservations required. To register, send an email to: . Or Contact Me Here:
Or call me at 312-432-1284.

Tour subject to cancellation if fewer than 6 reservations are received by 10/5/11. The first six people to make reservations will receive a FREE set of five full-color Route 66 postcards!

I hope to see you Strolling Chicago’s Route 66 (and neighborhood) on the 6th of October at 6:06!

August 30th was free Gyros day

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Wrigleyville Dogs, 3737 N Clark Street

Wrigleyville Dogs, 3737 N Clark Street

…in the metro Chicago area, thanks to an online promotion from Kronos Gyros. Coupons for free Gyros sandwiches were available on the Web, redeemable at dozens of restaurants that get their Gyros rotisseries from Kronos.
I love Gyros sandwiches, but as a Greektown resident I normally walk less than a half-block and get great food at Zeus Diner, Mr. Greek, or Greektown Gyros. These fine fast-food style restaurants are located at Halsted and Jackson (Route 66). (Zeus is my favorite, but the other two have an advantage in being open 24/7). However, none of my neighborhood eateries were participating in the Kronos promotion, so to get my free sandwich I had to take a pleasant drive up to Wrigleyville Dogs.
Wrigleyville Dogs is located at 3737 N. Clark Street, about a block north of Wrigley Field. Their website says they have been there since 1992, but the building is certainly older than that. It is a classic fast-food eatery and it has a fairly large menu for a short-order type of place. Hot Dogs, of course, but also Italian Beef and Sausage, Shish Kebob, Grecian Chicken, Burgers, Soup, and Chili. They also have Ice Cream, Shakes, Sundaes, Splits, Floats, Baklava, and Pies for dessert.
However, I was there for the free Gyros! I was impressed by the nice grill on the pita, the freshly sliced meat piled high, super-fresh tomatoes and combo of white and red onion. There was a little bit of Romaine Lettuce on the sandwich as well–something not normally on a Gyros as served down in Greektown. A nice surprise was that the tzatziki sauce was flavored with a bit of feta.
Whenever I am in Wrigleyville I will definitely consider going back to Wrigleyville Dogs–even if I have to pay for it! And I will keep a lookout next year to see if Kronos repeats the free offer in August 2012!

Good Food Fast-New PowerPoint Presentation

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

A Valentine Diner at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. Click here for more info on the Good Food Fast Presentation

A Valentine Diner at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. Click above for more information about the Good Food Fast Presentation

Don’t we love our diners, drive-ins, coffee shops & dives? We all have a favorite pizza joint, hot dog haven, or barbecue mecca. Some love the places that serve breakfast all day with a bottomless cup of coffee, and others like the spot with unique specialties unavailable elsewhere–the best Italian Beef, Philly Cheese Steak, Green Chili Burgers, or Horseshoe platter. It is not just fast food, it is good food served fast, and often prepared in sight–in an open kitchen–so you can see the food prepared and know it’s right!
This new presentation available immediately for libraries, social groups, museums, or other organizations across the greater Chicago Metro area delves into the history of the 20th Century Dining Revolution. This was a revolution fueled by transportation and urbanization. Travelers by rail or rubber needed places to eat, and workers in offices and factories needed quick access to lunch. The restaurant industry had to overcome serious concerns about cleanliness and food quality, and the response was a new type of restaurant offering quick service, impeccably clean environs, and the use of trusted brand-name ingredients. The results were both the unique ma-and-pa diner and the cookie-cutter franchise. If this description leaves you hungry for more, please take a look at my presentation page, or download a copy of my current presentation flier in .pdf form

Al’s #1 Beef opens on Route 66

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Als Beef Adams Street Chicago

Als #1 Italian Beef, 601 W. Adams (Westbound Route 66), Chicago

A famous Chicago eatery now has a new location on Adams Street (westbound Route 66). Al’s #1 Italian Beef invented the beef sandwich back in 1938 in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood. Their sandwich started as a way to stretch scarce beef during the Great Depression, slicing it thinly and serving it with au jus gravy and a choice of hot or sweet peppers on a large roll. Their business began as delivery only, catering to the needs of workers at nearby hospitals and businesses. For years, their only location remained in Little Italy at 1079 W. Taylor Street. The menu expanded over time to include Italian and Polish Sausage, Chicago-style hot dogs, and their famous hand-cut French fries. New ownership began franchising Al’s in 1999, and the restaurant at Adams and Jefferson Streets is one of their newest.

Als Italian Beef at night

Als #1 Italian Beef at night

The building now occupied by Al’s Italian Beef on Adams Street was previously the location of restaurants named Angelo’s and West Loop Cafe. It is located near Union Station and an easy walk from Sears Willis Tower. The new Adams location features a fanciful giant soft drink cup over the entrance. I believe the largest drink on the menu comes in a somewhat smaller cup

For more information on Al’s Italian Beef, check out their website at

Vintage Chicago Route 66 Filling Station Saved

Monday, August 24th, 2009

The Castle in its derelict stage

The Castle in its derelict stage

There is good news indeed along Route 66 in Chicago! The John J. Murphy Filling Station at 3801 W. Ogden Avenue, is currently being spruced up and adapted for reuse as a restaurant. The castle-styled station was built in 1925, and Mr. Murphy operated it for over 45 years. It changed names a few times in the 1970s, likely due to Mr. Murphy’s retirement or sale of the business. Its last use was as the Castle Car Wash. It was in this last, likely failed attempt at commercial use that the lettering was painted onto the stone facade.

The castle stood vacant and deteriorating for many years, but it caught the eye of many a traveler with an eye for fine roadside architecture. Earlier this year, Landmarks Illinois placed the castle on their Chicagoland Watch List. Every time I drove down Ogden, I worried that I would look over and see the old castle demolished.

The Castle Turret as it looks now

The Castle Turret as it looks now

Imagine my delight when I received a call a while ago from a gentlemen who said he had signed a deal to refurbish the castle and use it as a restaurant. As you can see from this photo, the stone has been tuckpointed and all painted lettering has been removed.

I will be meeting the man behind the refurbished castle soon. Stay tuned for more information!

Hungry Hound visits Route 66 eateries near Chicago

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Our local ABC TV station in Chicago, WLS Channel 7, aired this nice piece tonight about Del Rhea Chicken Basket and White Fence Farms. The host, Steve Dolinsky, has been doing food and restaurant-related work on various Chicago stations for over ten years. I think he gets the “flavor” of the restaurants and the road pretty well!

You can see the video here:

Bon Apetit!